Indiana University

Skip to:

  1. Search
  2. Breadcrumb Navigation
  3. Content
  4. Browse by Topic
  5. Services & Resources
  6. Additional Resources
  7. Multimedia News

Media Contacts

Ken Turchi
IU Maurer School of Law

Last modified: Friday, July 15, 2011

Indiana University expert available to comment on U.S. recognition of Libyan rebels

July 15, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The United States' recognition of the rebel leadership in Libya as the country's legitimate government is a major step in establishing a new order in the war-torn country, according to an Indiana University Maurer School of Law expert on the subject.

"This step should allow the rebels increased access to Libyan assets frozen in foreign banks," said Timothy Waters, associate professor of law. "Also, the diplomatic, economic and military support, and the boost to morale and confidence that recognition offers, will greatly increase the rebels' options and capacity for action."

Timothy Waters

Despite this major endorsement from the West, Waters added that the rebels still face substantial challenges.

"Recognition confers real advantages, but it doesn't necessarily change the military equation in the short term. Even an unrecognized regime can still draw on its own considerable resources," he said. "Recognition represents a challenge to the Qaddafi regime's confidence, rather than an immediate degradation of its capacity to continue fighting. Recognition is not a magic key to the conflict -- after all, the rebels sought recognition from the White House two months ago and didn't get it, but were still able to secure increased support and consolidate their position."

Waters is a frequent contributor to policy debate on international law and politics. His op-eds on Iraq, the Balkans, and international justice have appeared in the New York Times, International Herald Tribune and Christian Science Monitor. He has presented his work to universities, government bodies, and institutes in the U.S., Europe, Iran, and Israel. He monitored implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords in Bosnia, and at the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal, he helped draft the indictment of Slobodan Miloevi, about which he is editing a book. He has just been appointed a Humboldt Fellow at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, where he will be writing a book on secession.

Waters is available to comment on these and other developments in Libya. He can be reached at 662-380-0320, or at